Surfside building collapse death toll reaches 86

Surfside building collapse death toll reaches 86
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The death toll from the Surfside, Fla., condo collapse has now reached 86, officials said Saturday morning.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (D) said that 43 people remain potentially unaccounted for, while more than 211 people are accounted for so far.

Levine Cava thanked everyone who has been involved in the response effort, which she said was the largest non-hurricane response effort in the state's history.  

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“I want to thank everyone around the world and here at home from the bottom of my heart who have been caring for us every day for the last 16-plus days, and especially to the extraordinary teams from our local community and state and around the country who are part of the largest-ever non-hurricane emergency response effort in Florida's history,” Levine Cava said.

“And especially the first responders who tackled the pile with the same dedication on day 17 as they did on day one,” she continued.

Search and rescue efforts at the collapse site officially transitioned into recovery efforts earlier this week.

The rest of the building was demolished Sunday evening ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa.

Levine Cava said Saturday that recovery efforts were briefly paused around 7 a.m. due to a lighting strike, but the work resumed within an hour.

She said bad weather is expected throughout the day, but recovery efforts will continue as long as it’s safe for first responders.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said two different operations are now underway at the site.

Officials are working to recover victims from the original collapse site as well as to remove the rubble from the recently demolished site.

“Given the current pace, it appears very likely that the site will be cleared a lot sooner than many expected, at least as it pertains to the area where the remaining building was demolished,” Burkett said.